Special Report

The 10 Most Dangerous States for Pedestrians

7. Nevada
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people: 1.96
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 54 (24th lowest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 258 (16th lowest)

Commuting patterns may be one explanation for the increased risk of traffic accidents among Nevada’s pedestrians. While 36.4% of the national workforce spent between 15 minutes to 30 minutes commuting to work, 45% of Nevadan working-age adults did so, the most nationwide. And the vast majority of commuters — 88.9% — drove to work in 2012, versus 86% of Americans. Major cities in Nevada are car-dependent, according to Walk Score. This means that those without cars need to walk long distances to reach basic amenities, which may also explain the state’s high pedestrian fatality rate. The pedestrian fatality rate increased by 47.4% between 2010 and 2012, among the largest two-year increase and considerably higher than the national increase.

6. North Carolina
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people: 2.02
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 197 (5th highest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 1,292 (5th highest)

North Carolina is one of the nation’s most densely populated states, with 363.7 people per square mile as of 2012, more than in all but five other states. State residents are also more likely to drive than residents in other states, with nearly 105 million total miles that year. Perhaps as a result, there were 1,292 traffic-related deaths in 2012, the fifth highest number of fatalities in the country. Nearly 200 of the victims were pedestrians, also among the highest nominal figures. The pedestrian fatality rate increased by more than 14% between 2010 and 2012, among the higher rates nationwide. Additionally, among the 10 U.S. cities with the lowest Walk Score rating, four were located in the state. In turn, pedestrians may need to walk a long way to reach basic needs, which increases the likelihood of pedestrian fatalities.

5. Florida
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people: 2.46
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 476 (3rd highest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 2,424 (3rd highest)

Pedestrian fatalities fell by 4.3% between 2011 and 2012 to 2.46 deaths per 100,000 residents, one of only two states on this list where the death rate declined over that period. This improvement may be due to Florida’s Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, which provides resources to improve local infrastructures. With one of the highest shares of the population in the country commuting more than 30 minutes per day — most of which will travel by car — Florida has a lot to gain from ensuring pedestrian safety. Florida’s high pedestrian death rate may be due in part to its large elderly population, which accounts for 18.2% of the state’s total residents and is the highest proportion in the country. According to one recent study, residents over 65 years old account for a relatively large proportion of pedestrian deaths, and are more likely than other groups to be involved in accidents.